John McLaughlin: Where Fortune Smiles


Where Fortune Smiles


John McLaughlin (guitar)


Where Fortune Smiles (One Way Records OW 29312)

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John McLaughlin (guitar), Karl Berger (vibes).

Composed by John Surman


Recorded: New York, May 1970


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Saxophonist John Surman wrote the title cut for Where Fortune Smiles. He and John McLaughlin had shared lead playing on McLaughlin's previous recording Extrapolation. That album has now become part of British jazz folklore. Many people believe it is the greatest jazz record ever recorded in England. People don't feel the same about Where Fortune Smiles. Perhaps they will in a 100 years. Who knows?

Strangely, Surman does not appear on the cut. The song is the most melodious music on the recording. Vibraphonist Karl Berger is the tune's gentle provocateur. He plays the understated theme and does the soloing. His sound is quite beautiful. His dynamics are nothing short of lovely. McLaughlin strums jazz chords and provides the occasional accompanying flourish. McLaughlin's jazz chords and occasional accompanying flourishes are like nobody else's. The combination is a winning one. This is a charming duet and provides a brief respite from the mostly unrelenting free jazz on the rest of the album.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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